Michael Recchiuti Hazelnut Praline

"The dukes of Praslin-Choiseul stem from one of the most illustrious
noble families in France, but they are best known because one of their
pastry chefs invented the confection known as praliné in
honor of his patron. Brillat-Savarin famously wrote "the invention of a
new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a
new star". Apparently it does wonders for a family’s name recognition
as well.

Praliné is basically a blend of finely ground hazelnuts and almonds
and cooked with boiling sugar (otherwise, it would just be another form
of marzipan). If it is mixed with chocolate, it becoms gianduja. If the
nut fragments remain discernable in a matrix of caramelized sugar, the
result is nougatine, one of the heights of French pastry-making. One
interesting variety is feuilleté praliné, where the praliné
is blended with pieces of extremely fine and crisp wafers to yield a
confection that has at once the smoothness of praliné and the
crispiness of a flaky pastry. When I was a kid, I would often buy
"Lutti Noisettor", a hard hazelnut-flavored candy where the core had
this same stratified laminated and crunchy texture, but it seems it has
been discontinued, perhaps the fabrication technique was too complex to
be profitable."


"My favorite one is the Hazelnut Praline, which is actually a feuilleté
praliné. A safety disclaimer ought to be mandatory on the wrapper, as
biting into a piece is an amazingly intense experience. The couverture
is excellent, but it is the praliné that grabs your attention: rich,
dark, clearly made with a high proprtion of nuts to sugar and blended
with dark rather than milk chocolate, and with the delightful crispy
texture of feuilletine. Everyone I gave a taste of this bar had the
same reaction of utter amazement, it is that good…"

Fazal Majid
"Low-intensity blog"